Birth Doula Certification Course Coming in October

A Course Offered by GCC’s BEST Center

Batavia, New York - It is an ancient Greek word and an ancient practice, but as an occupation today it is experiencing significant growth. Doula, pronounced do͞olə, is an ancient Greek term that translates today as a professional person, usually but not always a woman, who provides physical, emotional and informational support during pregnancy, birth and postpartum experiences.

The BEST Center (Business and Employee Skills Training) at Genesee Community College is offering a three-day Birth Doula Certification Training course in October 2019 for the first time ever.  

The new course teaches how a doula works in concert with a mid-wife, doctor or obstetrician to personalize both the childbirth experience and education that helps prepare for a positive childbirth. A birth doula provides guidance before, during and after a birth offering appropriate comfort measures, support to the father / husband / partner and other family members, and bridges any potential gaps between the medical team and the emotional aspects of child birth. The doula endeavors to identify and honor the mother’s desires while maintaining a comforting, respectful environment throughout the birthing process. Today, there are more than 10,000 doulas practicing in the United States. Recent studies have indicated that the presence of a doula in the birthing process results in decreasing the risk of a Cesarean birth, low birth weights of the baby, less complications as well as an increase in breastfeeding.

Additionally, a bill was recently passed by New York State Senate to require professional certification of doulas and it is expected to be reviewed and signed by Governor Cuomo this fall. Erie and Kings Counties have also expanded a pilot program to cover doula services under Medicaid in a multifaceted effort to help maternal mortality and racial disparities in providing access to prenatal and perinatal care.

“The course identifies a growing opportunity in the healthcare industry of helping bridge the continuously growing demands placed upon medical professionals and the interests and concerns of patients and their families,” Alexandria Misiti, program coordinator at The BEST Center. “In just three days with eight hours of instruction each day, participants can step into a dynamic new heathcare career option.”

The cost for the course is $499 per student and the sessions are scheduled at Genesee Community College’s Batavia campus in the Conable Technology Building in room T119 on Friday through Sunday, October 25, 26, 27 from 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Online registration is available at and the deadline for registration is October 11, 2019.   

The main concepts covered in the course include:

1. Significance and long term impact of the birth experience

2. Suggestions for emotional and psychological support

3. Non-pharmacological comfort and pain management techniques

4. Communication skills

5. Doula ethics and standards

6. Business aspects of a doula practice

7. Doula Certification

Instructors for the course are: Julia Sittig, MSW, AdvCD/BDT (DONA), LCCE who has been an Advanced DONA Certified Birth Doula since 2004 as well as a Lamaze International Certified Childbirth Educator; and Christy Muscasto, CD/BDT(DONA), LCCE who has the same credentials and has been practicing for more than a decade.  

Additional course details are available at . Advance registration is necessary and limited seats are available. For further information contact The BEST Center by calling 585-345-6868 or emailing for more information.

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Editor’s Note:  A photograph of instructors Julia Sittig and Christy Muscato, is available at: